Swedish bank makes understated arrival in Aylesbury

Derek Beards - branch manager of the new Handelsbanken which has opened in Prebendal Court

Derek Beards - branch manager of the new Handelsbanken which has opened in Prebendal Court

A new bank has crept into town but it wants to be the local business that everyone is talking about.

Handelsbanken began in Sweden but since its first British branch in 1982, it now has 167 across the UK and arrived in Aylesbury two weeks ago.

Many of its competitors spend millions on marketing and advertisements but Handelsbanken rely on word of mouth to attract new customers.

Branch manager Derek Beards, who previously worked at Lloyds banking group for 32 years, believes advocacy is everything in building a positive reputation and with it, new clients.

He said: “We have been growing at a relatively rapid rate but in our own quiet way.

“But we are not here as the saviour. We will look at everyone on an individual basis while making sure our staff are not just going out to make quick sales.

It has got to be right for the client and has to be right for us.”

The bank, which is one of the leaders in Sweden and has a total of 700 branches in 24 countries, can now be found in Prebendal Court with its own car park and a team of four employees as they intend to grow organically with their customer base.

Mr Beards said: “The local residents association came round and I thought they were going to ask us to take all the signage down but instead they welcomed us and said the area will now have to be called Handelsbanken corner!”

The new bank has secured a 10-year lease at the site off Oxford Road and considers the Vale as providing a great opportunity to do business.

Its recently published third quarter financial results showed household lending rose by 28% (to £3.3 billion) in the last 12 months.

Mr Beards said: “At a lot of banks, staff are not in a position to deliver good customer service or management changes every five months but we are a local bank with local staff, who have direct telephone lines rather than speaking from foreign countries.”




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